Book Review: Marpeting From January 2012

 

There’s no shortage of books to help in the selling process, but what distinguishes Marpeting— Advertising and Marketing for Carpeting & Flooring is both the depth of information and how it is laid out. The book covers everything from psychological principles behind how consumers think to the nuts and bolts of creating a successful advertising strategy, and the information comes in a format that urges a total immersion in the topic but allows for a piecemeal approach as well. It’s also written specifically for the flooring industry.

Marpeting was written by Drew Eric Whitman and Stefan Hoher. Whitman, a marketing expert and consultant, has been teaching the psychology of the consumer for 28 years. Hoher started off in the newspaper business in Germany, then opened an advertising agency, and now works as director of marketing technology for Shaw’s Tuftex division. The subtitle of the book is How Tuftex Dealers Can Use Over 100 Secrets of Madison Avenue Psychology to Stand Out, Attract More Customers & Sell More Carpet & Flooring, though the lessons apply equally to all floorcoverings.

Broadly speaking, the book is broken up into three sections—one that discusses the psychology of the consumer, another that shows how to translate that psychological roadmap into specific selling tools and techniques, and a final section that offers a methodical step-by-step approach to building a successful “marpeting” and “e-marpeting” plan. Whitman wrote the first two sections and Hoher put together the third.

Whitman starts off with an introduction into the key thoughts on consumers’ minds, including the “Life Force 8” (LF8) and the Secondary 9. LF8, the “desires that are ‘biologically programmed’ in each of us,” include a range of key biological imperatives, like survival and the enjoyment of life, freedom from fear, pain and danger, social approval, care and protection of loved ones, and comfortable living conditions. The Secondary 9 covers learned desires, like cleanliness, convenience, dependability, curiosity, bargains and expressions of beauty and style.

Whitman is an advocate of teaching from the inside out, creating a framework of knowledge and understanding upon which to build all of the techniques and strategies for effectively marketing and advertising. His “17 Irresistible Principles of Consumer Psychology” lays the foundation for how to channel people’s desires. 

The first principle, for instance, is Fear Creation and Alleviation—Ease their minds and sell more carpet, and it includes four steps to fear formation. Other principles include: Tapping the Ego—What does their carpet say about them?, Restructure Their Beliefs—How to change their reality (including a section called The Kung Fu Concession), Cialdini’s Keys to Influence—Six shortcuts to the sale, The Psychology of Tag Questions (Aren’t you glad you use Dial? What would you do for a Klondike Bar?), and Providing Evidence—Satisfying your customer’s logical mind

The final principle—Heuristics: Serving billions of lazy brains daily—relates to how knowledge is acquired and how to take advantage of that process. For instance, Whitman tells us that, “if we’re exposed to the right type of information, our ‘mental trains’ will stay on their peripheral processing tracks and pull into the station fully prepared to make a decision in seconds or minutes instead of hours, days, or longer.”

The biggest chunk of the book is developed to Whitman’s Madison Avenue advertising secrets, 41 proven techniques for “attracting more customers and selling more flooring,” and it’s clear how the psychological principles inform this section—the very first secret discusses how to profit from the “Human Lazy Factor.”

The advertising secrets go from the practical to the profound, from how to construct sentences, use personal pronouns and choose fonts to the psychology of human inertia and creating “neurological ‘open loops’ that engage readers’ brains.” Tips also include the psychology of visualization, engaging consumers’ brains by involving all their senses, the psychology of size, page and section, and how to structure guarantees that automatically increase sales and reverse risk.

The way the book is designed allows readers to decide whether they want to learn the topic from the inside out or go straight to the advertising techniques, tips and checklists or to Hoher’s “E-Marpeting” section.

Bob Hill, president of Illinois’ Floor Covering Associates, skipped right over to “E-Marpeting,” because that’s what his team is currently trying to figure out—how to develop a more effective Internet strategy and improve their Internet presence. Hill said, “I think it’s great to have a ‘how to’ book that is focused on our industry rather than being generic like most ‘how to’ books.”

Sandwiched between Whitman’s advertising techniques and Hoher’s marketing tools are two short sections that each pack a punch. Section 4 is an ad critique clinic that dissects five print ads, clearly explaining what is wrong with every element of these ads that, at first glance, might have seemed okay. Section 5 offers 101 tips to boost ad response, including a handy 46 point “Killer Ad” checklist that may well be the most valuable item in the entire book, since it basically guides the creation of effective ads.

Stefan Hoher’s section on How to Create A Powerful Marpeting Plan & Successful E-Marpeting quickly gets down to the practical issues involved in marketing, first covering the importance of generating a marketing plan.

Hoher devotes several pages to marketing on the web, covering what flooring retailers’ websites should do, along with search engine optimization, pay-per-click and how to set up a Google AdWords account to help drive traffic to websites. Hoher walks readers through the creation of online ads, then discusses Google Analytics as a way of tracking and analyzing traffic to the website.

While Hoher does not feel that social media is as critical as some others claim it to be, he does caution retailers to make sure they understand how, what and when to communicate. “I would suggest you get started but don’t expect Social Media to solve your marketing problems.” (For more on how to approach social media, check out Jay Flynn’s Digital Evolution on page 62 of the January 2012 issue of Floor Focus.)

Hoher emphasizes the importance of review websites like Yelp.com, CitySearch.com and Google Places, where starred reviews serve as a powerful way of guiding consumers, and he also discusses how to respond to positive and negative reviews.

Whitman and Hoher’s Marpeting has no shortage of good tools and tips on how to boost traffic and sales, and retailers will no doubt be able to glean useful ideas within minutes. However, the well organized presentation of the psychological underpinnings of the consumer process and how it manifests in marketing and advertising provides an opportunity for readers to truly understand how the whole system works, and in the end that understanding may prove to be the biggest tool of all. 
 

Copyright 2012 Floor Focus 

 



Other Archived Articles

Haines Vice President of Operations Dies   Full Article
Glen Burnie, MD, April 1, 2014 -- Distributor Haines said its vice president of operations, Mark Blakely, died March 27 from health complications.

Manufacturing Keeps Expanding in March   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 1, 2014 -- U.S. manufacturing continued to expand in March at a higher pace than in February, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Construction Spending Edges Up in February   Full Article
Washington, DC, April 1, 2014 -- Construction spending ticked up in February, according to the Commerce Department.

Perfect Timing for New Chocolate Flooring   Full Article
Vancouver, BC, April 1, 2014 -- For a limited time, BuildDirect is offering real chocolate plank flooring.

Del Conca Opens U.S. Manufacturing Facility   Full Article
Loudon, TN, April 1, 2014 -- Del Conca USA held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new manufacturing facility in Loudon.

Vinyl Institute Names Vice President of Marketing   Full Article
Alexandria, VA, April 1, 2014 -– The Vinyl Institute has named Susan Wade vice president of marketing and communications.

Tandus Centiva Offering Green Innovation Grant   Full Article
Dalton, GA, March 31, 2014 -- Tandus Centiva said it will award $3,000 in Green Innovation grant funds to a K-12 school.

SelecTech Signs Agreement with Spartan   Full Article
Avon, MA, March 31, 2014 -- SelecTech, a manufacturer of flooring products from recycled materials, has signed an agreement with Spartan Surfaces to represent Selectech in the Midwest.

Chicago Manufacturing Expands at Slower Pace   Full Article
Chicago, IL, March 31, 2014 -- Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area grew at a slower rate in March.

Fuse Alliance Adds Four New Members   Full Article
Aurora, CO, March 31, 2014 -- Fuse Alliance said it has added four new commercial flooring contractors and 20 new locations to the network.

J+J Sponsoring Education Facilities Workshop   Full Article
Dalton, GA, March 31, 2014 -- J+J Flooring Group has recently joined with APPA, the world-wide professional association of education facility managers, to present an APPA Facilities Drive-In workshop.

Consumer Spending, Incomes Rise in February   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 28, 2014 -- Consumer spending rose 0.3% in February after a 0.2% rise in January, the Commerce Department said.

Tuftex Wins California Recycled Water Award   Full Article
Santa Fe Springs, CA, March 28, 2014 -- Shaw's Tuftex division received the Recycled Water Customer of the Year Award from the WateReuse Association's California Section.

NWFA Expands Scholarship Program   Full Article
St. Louis, MO, March 28, 2014 -- The National Wood Flooring Association said it will significantly expand its scholarship program under its new Education & Research Foundation.

Consumer Sentiment Falls in March   Full Article
Ann Arbor, MI, March 28, 2014 -- Consumer sentiment declined to a final March reading of 80 from 81.6 in February, according to the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters survey.

Tarkett in Partnerships with Healthcare Groups   Full Article
Chagrin Falls, OH, March 28, 2014 -- Tarkett said it has formed collaborative partnerships with four leading healthcare organizations: NXT Health, Planetree, Practice Greenhealth, and The Center for Health Design.

Wood Flooring Sales Decline in Europe   Full Article
Brussels, Belgium, March 28, 2014 -- After a year in which overall European wood flooring consumption fell by 5.9%, first estimates suggest the market contracted another 5% in 2013, the Lesprom Network said.

UK's Carpetright Issues Profit Warning   Full Article
London, England, March 28, 2014 -- Carpetright has issued its third profits warning in six months.

Armstrong Products Featured in 'Dream Builders'   Full Article
Lancaster, PA, March 27, 2014 -- Armstrong and Bruce flooring will be featured in the premier season of NBC’s new reality competition series, “American Dream Builders,” hosted by designer Nate Berkus.

Pending Home Sales Fall in February   Full Article
Washington, DC, March 27, 2014 -- Pending home sales fell 0.8% in February to the lowest level in more than two years, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday.